“There’s no problem so awful that you can’t add some guilt to it and make it even worse.”
Bill Watterson (Cartoonist, The Complete Calvin and Hobbes)
“I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.”
Jonathan Swift (Author, Gulliver’s Travels)
“Shame is a soul-eating emotion.”
G. Jung (Psychiatrist & Founder of Analytical Psychology)
I didn’t care about going to class.
I just laid in my tiny dorm room bed staring at the ceiling.
It was my first semester of college and I was miserable.
I moved 3,000 miles across the U.S. to go to college, leaving my family, friends, and girlfriend behind.
I felt like I made a selfish and foolish decision.
I felt resentful and ashamed.
Like I had let the people closest to me down.
So I spent every night talking on the phone with everyone at home.
I sent emails in between classes too.
I had this desperate desire to stay up to date with all the drama back home.
This made me feel less guilty about leaving.
When my midterm grades came out, I wasn’t surprised to see my grade point average was 1.2.
I wasn’t surprised but I was ashamed.
Now, I felt ashamed for leaving home and ashamed for getting bad grades.
It wasn’t until I stopped focusing on leaving home and letting other people down that I was able to get my grade point average back up to 3.9.
A few years later, I went to graduate school and started feeling ashamed of myself again.
This time I felt ashamed because I didn’t fit in.
I didn’t seem to have the same skills as the other graduate students.
Everyone was smarter than I was.
I was slow to make progress, which made me angry and frustrated.
And I felt ashamed for letting myself get angry and frustrated.
It wasn’t until I stopped trying to fit in that I caught up to the other students and started to excel.
Why You Should Never Be Ashamed Of Yourself
Shame is a very destructive emotion.
Contrary to popular belief, shame is not a teaching tool.
Feeling shame or trying to make other people feel shame is always a mistake.
This is because shame takes people off course and makes them self-destruct, not improve.
Studies reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology show that shame proneness is significantly related to maladaptive responses to anger, including malevolent intentions, displaced aggression, self-directed hostility, and negative long-term consequences.
A report by American Psychological Association shows that feelings of shame, no matter where they come from, often give rise to destructive motivations, defenses, interpersonal behaviors, and other negative psychological symptoms.
The reason so many people stop growing in life and instead become bitter and resentful is because they’ve given in to feelings of guilt and shame.
They’ve let other people make them feel ashamed of their talents, for their shortcomings, and for everything else in between.
The only way to live a happy and focused life is to actively guard yourself against feeling shame for any reason.
5 Things To Never Be Ashamed Of
No one other than yourself can make you feel shame.
When feelings of shame crop up in your life, you must work to destroy them as quickly as possible.
The key is to not feel ashamed for feeling shame, this will only create a vicious cycle of resentment and sadness that will pull you down in life.
Instead, you must acknowledge your feelings and then remind yourself, over and over again if necessary, why your feelings are unfounded.
Your life and what you do with it is in your hands.
Never let anyone make you feel ashamed for who you are or for the choices you’ve made.
Never be ashamed of your gifts.
Never be ashamed of not having enough friends or of saying “no” to others.
Here are 5 things you should never be ashamed of…
1. Being great at something.
Never tone yourself down to make others around you feel better.
If you’re so good that you make others look ridiculous, so be it.
Too many people feel shame for standing out.
They excel at something and, as a result, develop a creeping sense of dread because of it.
It’s like they think they deserve to be punished for being great, like they owe it to other people to tone themselves down.
If you’re great at something, don’t feel guilty about it.
Instead, feel great about it.
Never take it easy on other people just because you want to be liked either.
Instead, crush them. Be the best.
Playing small will only make the world a worse place to live in.
2. Not being liked by others.
One third of the population will like you no matter what.
One third can be convinced to like you.
One third will never like you.
Ignore these second two groups of people.
No one has a 100% success rate in making friends.
Some of the people in your life, no matter what you do, will never like you.
Don’t feel guilty about it. Instead, accept it. Own it.
The hard truth is some people won’t like you on purpose.
These people will try to use your desire to be liked, and your guilt of not being liked, to manipulate and use you.
The only way to keep this from happening is to ignore those who don’t naturally enjoy your company.
Ignore the myth that you have to be liked by everyone to be successful.
The only person you truly have to be liked by is yourself, and this is impossible to do when you’re ashamed of yourself.
3. Saying “no” to someone or some event.
Your time is valuable. Protect it.
Stop going to events that take you off course and stop spending time with energy-draining people who drag you down.
Too many people feel obligated to go to events set up by people they barely know.
They attend dozens of parties and get-togethers every month out of guilt and shame, not happiness.
Then, these same people complain about never having enough time or energy to do the things they really want to do.
The solution is simple—stop feeling burdened by someone else’s desire to be around you.
Stop going to events to spend time with people out of guilt.
Instead, stay home, send a card, and work on your personal goals.
4. Not caring about other people’s drama.
Most people feel guilty about other people’s problems far too easily.
They hear some sob story and then feel ashamed of themselves for being better off than the person telling the story.
They feel ashamed for not being able to solve the person’s problems.
If they don’t feel ashamed initially, they eventually feel ashamed for not caring enough.
The problem is that a lot of people like having problems.
They like the attention it gives them.
These people don’t want you to solve their problems.
Stop trying to help these people. Stop caring.
If someone asks for your help or needs to vent, great, be there for them.
But if they’re just complaining, ignore them and don’t lose a minute’s sleep over it.
Refuse to feel guilty for other people’s pointless drama. It’s their drama, not yours.
Don’t feel obligated to get emotionally involved.
Don’t let emotional vampires suck you in.
5. Making something happen for yourself.
The best thing you can do for your life is make something happen for yourself.
Whether you want to be a successful entrepreneur, artist, author, or inventor, the act of creating value will add value back into your life.
When you take initiative, you become a better person. You also make the world a better place to live in.
Your self-directed action inspires other people to take self-directed action.
The problem is that stepping out on your own will trigger some people to come against you.
These people will try to make you feel ashamed, selfish, stupid, and small for taking initiative.
Forget these people.
Changing your life will make others uncomfortable. So what? That’s their problem.
Never feel ashamed for stepping out and being original.
Never feel guilty for being unique.
Stop letting other people boss you around with shame. Instead, be your own boss.
Set the agenda for your life, without fear, without shame, and without apologies.
You were meant to enjoy your life, not be ashamed of it. Never feel guilty or ashamed because you want some time alone, or because someone doesn’t like you. Never allow yourself to feel shame or guilt for ignoring other people’s drama, for saying “no,” or for making something happen for yourself. Feeling guilty or ashamed for these reasons will drag you down and eventually cause you to self-destruct. Guard yourself against guilt and shame. Stay confident in who you are and the decisions you’ve made for your life.
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